Survival tip: What to do if your car is caught in a flash flood


Vehicles submerged under heavy flooding in various highways in Johannesburg.

Disclaimer: The points below are collected from experts on the topic. All points should be taken as advice and are not meant to cover all possible circumstances.

JOHANNESBURG – Floods can become dangerous and deadly, especially for drivers.

On Wednesday, at least four people were killed when flash floods hit some parts of Johannesburg. 


The best way to avoid being caught inside your car is to avoid water on the road

* Never drive through a flooded road or bridge. Back up and try a different route.

* Stay on high ground.

* Listen to the radio for weather information and take routes that avoid flooded areas.


If you find your car surrounded by floodwater but not submerged:

* Don't walk into moving water unless it is extremely shallow. Just 16cm of moving water can knock you off your feet.

* If your vehicle is surrounded by shallow water and you are caught in a traffic jam because of deeper conditions ahead, abandon the vehicle and move immediately to higher ground. Do not stay in a car that may get flooded.

* If you are stranded on an object above the floodwater, such as a tree or a building, stay put and wait for rescue. Do not enter the floodwater.



If you find yourself submerged by water: 


* If your car is swept into the water and submerged, the advice is to stay calm.

* Undo your seat belt. Unbuckle the children, starting with the oldest first. 

* Open the windows as soon as you hit the water. If you need to, break the window with any heavy object you have available. 

* Continue to breathe normally until the water is at chest level, then take a deep breath and hold your nose.

* Swim to the surface as quickly as possible. If you don’t know which way to swim, look for light and swim toward it or follow any bubbles you see as they will be going up.

* If you are swept into fast-moving floodwater outside of your car, point your feet downstream. Always go over obstacles, never try to go under.


Currently, there are a number of roads to avoid in Johannesburg, which you can view in the map below:



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